April 2017 By being true to herself and pouring her heart and soul into all that she did, Chitra Jha achieved success in all spheres In my 57 years on Planet Earth, if someone had asked me at any given time, “Do you call yourself successful?”, I would haveanswered, “Yes. I do.”As a school student, my success was measured by my report card. And I always brought home a 'successful' report. It didtremendous good to my confidence in myself.This confidence was temporarily shattered in Class 11, when, as a pre-medical student, I had to study subjects in theEnglish medium, and I just couldn’t cope. Passing with a second division was worse than failure for me.So I moved on to Humanities, but stayed with the English medium, even though the lectures were delivered in a mixture ofHindi and Punjabi. This move not only brought back my marks, but also “success” in a broader sense, as I began taking partin debates and declamations – in English.At the age of 17, I moved to Calcutta to join a “profession” – as a Military Nursing Cadet – and passed out with a goldmedal and two stars on my shoulders at the age of 20. I was a working woman, an army officer, with a four-figure salary.That was success and it gave me a high.At 24, I met the love of my life, and quit my promising career to become a happy homemaker. I loved that role. Andcontinue to play it “successfully” to this date.Motherhood came effortlessly, and I took that role rather seriously – spending all my kids’ waking hours with them. I tookgreat pride in that role of mine, and feel certain that I did my very best.The new millenium brought great opportunities to me in the area of “healing” and “training” and “writing”. Things just camemy way – automatically. A happening As I look back at my “successful” life today, success has just happened. I didn’t go looking for it. All I did was to simply putmy heart and soul into all that I ever did. I did everything fully and joyfully.And that perhaps is the secret of my journey – which happens to be successful.All through this journey my endeavour has been to be true to myself – and to all my roles. But this path of truth hascome with its accompanying heartaches as well.My biggest pain has come from the fact that as I grew – and I grew so fast –my near and dear ones couldn’t hold spacefor me; as perhaps I couldn’t hold myself.As I learnt, unlearnt and relearnt my personal truths, I forever contradicted myself, and some of my extended familymembers couldn’t take that – especially those who were my role models until then. My affiliation with the so-called NewAge was too much for them to handle – as was my “cheap” popularity on Facebook; they were especially unhappy withpeople referring to me as “Ma”. (This was something that I myself wasn’t particularly happy about, and have asked peoplepointblank to not use any ‘ji’ or ‘ma’ with my name.)Today, I am in that space where I understand that “success” is but a state of mind. Despite my current “failure” to keepall my relatives happy, I feel comfortable in my skin. And even that seems like “success” to me.In this current state, if I were to retrace my steps for leading a successful life, they would be –1) I have always endeavoured to follow my heart.2) I have always endeavoured to align my thoughts, words, and actions.3) I have always endeavoured to be true to my own self.4) I have always endeavoured to honour all that emerges from within me.5) I have always been ready to fight for that which is valuable to me.6) I have always endeavoured to cultivate awareness.7) I have said YES when I meant it and NO when I meant that.8) I have always endeavoured to honour my commitments – well in time.9) I have always endeavoured to do what I do to the best of my capability.10) I do not believe in taking short cuts or cutting corners.11) I choose to celebrate life in all its hues.12) Once a stage of life is over, I do not look back. Runs in the family Here I must add that I am married to a “successful” man, who not only rose to the rank of a two-star general in the IndiaArmy, but has also taken up a very noble (and unique) project of paying homage to all the soldiers who have sacrificedtheir lives since Independence (the number is close to 21,000). He is cycling two minutes for each fallen hero, and I amproviding logistics support to him as we travel across India in this endeavour. It is a huge effort – and all our “success”principles (learnt over a lifetime), are being applied in full faith.Besides us, our two sons and daughter-in- law too are successful in their own fields.I guess, that makes us a “successful” family. And that has been our strength. When every “I” is empowered, it makes fora successful team. From that space we hold each other’s hands and have each other’s backs. This hand-holding andback-supporting too has been an essential aspect of my success – our success.With that, I wish you, the reader, all the very best; and hope that you will honour your success as much as I do – orperhaps more than I do. For therein lies your strength – our strength.
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